ASK ABAX | GPS Tracking laws for a company car

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As an expert, ABAX often receives emails with questions surrounding GPS technology. Recently one of those emails was from 'Liz'. Liz asked a series of great questions about the use of GPS technology in a company car.

Liz's email:

"Hi

My husband works for a company who have added trackers to their cars to compare with what people are putting on their time sheets, is this OK to do?  Also the company has other staff who have been able to opt out of having a company car & have their own private vehicle (which they can't put a tracker on), is this also legal to treat the others differently when they cannot check anything on the other member of staff?

No policy has been given to the staff apart from a few new lines put into their staff handbook?

Thanks"

Our reply:

"Good morning Liz,

Thank you for your email.

GPS tracking in company cars seems to have caused quite a stir over the past few years due to tracking’s ‘big-brother’ stigma. This is quite an out-dated view and there are a host of benefits to the technology for both employer and employee.

Whether it is a company car or grey-fleet vehicle, the laws surrounding GPS technology are the same and pretty simple- They can monitor business trips, they cannot monitor private trips. This means the system must have, what is described as, a ’privacy button’ – essentially a way to keep private trips private.

To generalise, if the private vehicle or company car is private use only, the business would never be able to ‘turn the system on’- so they would be paying for a system that isn’t used, or likely, not install it in the first place. If the private vehicle or company car does both private and business use, tracking can monitor the business activity only.

To personalise, if your husband only does private mileage in his company car, his employer should never see anything, no live map location, no trip information. This is because everything he does is personal and they have no right to. If however, one day he spends a day doing business trips, his company may have an interest in those trips, so the GPS information becomes available to them. 

The way ABAX tackles privacy compliance is to keep all trips hidden from an administrator until the driver approves the business trips and sends them as a digital mileage claim. This way the business not only gets the GPS information but also gets a mileage claim that is accurate, tax compliant and requires almost zero administration.

The employer should be fully aware the key to successfully implementing their vehicle tracking system is clarity and trust. They will make efforts to uphold these values so to help going forward, I would recommend he speaks to his employer and clarify some things:

  • Why have they decided to not monitor all vehicles?
  • Are they aware of the privacy regulations I have described?
  • Who has access to his business trip information?
  • What will they use the system for day-today? (Mileage forms, track and trace etc)

Find this out and then check whether the lines in the handbook support this. That said, usually a paragraph in a handbook is sufficient.

For further reading, you may find our blog post written around the subject useful: https://abax.co.uk/gps-tracking-law/

I hope this helps!

Kind regards"

I hope you find this information as useful as Liz did!